Speaking, listening, reading and writing are four necessary skills. Speaking is one of the primary skills in communication. Fries says that speech is the most important aim of language teaching. In our schools and colleges stress is laid on reading.
This is just to put a cart before a horse. With proper practice, you can improve your speech. It’s only a self-sufficient skill. This guide can help you if you are looking to improve your speaking skills in English or any other language.
According to Don Byrne, “Speaking is the ability to express oneself intelligibly, reasonably, accurately and without hesitation”.
The Importance of Speaking Skills
A good speaker in different types of speaking can
- Produce the particular English speech sounds and sound patterns, both in isolation and in combination;
- Use appropriate stress and intonation patterns;
- Use appropriate words and structures to express the intended meaning;
- Recall words and structures quickly;
- Organize his thoughts and ideas in a logical sequence;
- Adjust his speech according to his audience, situation, and subject matter.
Why Do You Need to Improve Skills? The Purpose of Speaking
Generally, there are three purposes of speech:
- To inform or instruct
- To persuade
- To entertain
To Inform or Instruct
Here the basic goal is to inform and explain a process. Your teacher most often makes a speech to inform you. At the end of the conversation, the speaker hopes that the listeners have understood the issue, idea, or process.
To Persuade Audiences
Here the goal is to make listeners willing to accept the proposal or claim. And the speaker hopes that the listeners will do as they ask them to do. Its example is an advertisement.
To Entertain Listeners
Sometimes people speak to entertain. On social occasions such as promotion parties, anniversaries, and weddings, this form of oral communication is used.
|Speaking Barriers||Improvement Strategies|
Types of Barriers to Speaking
For speaking effectively one should try to overcome these barriers with the help of practice and patience. All humans are equal in physical properties and mental abilities. It is just everyone’s personal struggle to boost a specific thing. Let’s say, some people are good at maths but bad at business; on the other hand,1 most good businessmen are unable to solve simple math formulas.
Lack of Confidence
The speaker feels hesitation and shyness while speaking. He cannot face the audience due to a lack of confidence.
False Approach to Teaching
In our schools and colleges, much emphasis is given to reading and writing. Listening and speaking are neglected in our education system. In addition, the Grammar Translation Method is used to teach English. The students do not get the chance to learn spoken English.
Lack of vocabulary is also a hindrance in speech. The speakers have a less educated background. They are surrounded by less exposed people. They do not get the chance to enhance their vocabulary. Therefore, they feel incompetent.
English is taught as a second language in many countries. The speakers feel difficulty in learning correct pronunciation. They do not find native speakers to learn correct pronunciation. So, false pronunciation also becomes a hindrance.
Speaking becomes a fearful thing before an audience. Signs of discomfort are universally experienced. The heart rate increases, blood pressure, and body temperature rise, the mouth becomes dry, the voice trembles, etc.
Best 7 Techniques & Strategies Used to Improve Speaking Skills
We can not neglect the vital role of communication skills in business life, here are the 7 following techniques suggested to improve and master speaking skills.
Boost with Oral Exercises
In the classroom oral exercises are used to develop oral skills. The students should be given sufficient opportunities to express themselves in general conversation. The subject of conversation must be chosen carefully from the real-life experiences of the students.
Pair Work and Group work
By skillful use of pair work and group work, the teacher can provide the students with the opportunity to speak together and practice oral skills to develop fluency and accuracy in speech.
Try Dialogue to Improve
One of the most versatile techniques of language is dialogue. A dialogue is a talk or conversation between two people. In the classroom, the students can do dialogue practice by asking about the likes or dislikes, family members, hobbies, etc of their classmates.
Enacting pieces of communicative interaction in the classroom is a popular modern language teaching technique. This activity provides the students with opportunities to use language directly and purposefully. Thus they shed their fear of addressing the people.
Chain story exercises should be practiced at the developed level, as they require a quick response from the learners. The teacher begins a story by making a statement and the students add it new to sentences turn by turn. For example;
Teacher: There was a boy.
Student 1: He was passing through the forest.
Student 2: Suddenly he saw a lion.
The development of the chain story becomes easier if it is based on the knowledge and experiences of the learners.
Information Gap Exercise
The information gap is a sort of dialogue. It is more meaningful and communicative. In this exercise, a person has some information that the other does not have. This shows an information gap. To fill this gap, one person asks questions, and the other answers the questions. Its example is a crucial test.
Presentations would Help
Oral presentations help learners to develop their oral skills. The teacher assigns presentations to the students. One student giving a presentation while others listen to him carefully.
After the presentation, the listeners discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the speaker. In this way, they get accustomed to speaking in front of an audience.
Adding the 7 Cs of Effective communication in your speech would enable you to design the right verbal message to result in you the desired outcome. Not every message is effective but result-oriented messages bring results. Practice, Practice, and Practice to improve your speaking skill.
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A good knowledge of the topic and command over the language make you fluent and confident in speaking.
A person does not only communicate through his words but his whole personality. His personality includes physical appearance, dressing, hairstyle, and facial expressions. A good-looking and well-dressed person wins the confidence of others at first glance.
Posture, how you stand, even sit, communicates something about you as a communicator. When you stand straight and balance your weight on both feet, you give the impression of complete control. Your outward appearance mirrors your inner mood.
Movement of the hands, arms, head, shoulders are termed as gestures. Gestures add emphasis to your oral words. You can use them to emphasize a point, to suggest rejection of an idea, to describe size or shape. You should remember that using the same action again and again may bore the audience.
Eye contact is one of the most important and effective means of establishing relationship with the audience. A mobile face is an interesting face. When you maintain eye contact with the audience, it will give them feeling of respect and high interest. Eye contact increases your goodwill. Speakers who avoid eye contact lack confidence.
Signs of discomfort are universally experienced. The heart rate increases, blood pressure and body temperature rise, mouth becomes dry, voice trembles etc. You should remember that all are internal; none are visible to the audience.
Good pronunciation makes your speech effective and appealing. To learn correct pronunciation you should consult a dictionary.
Before planning oral presentation, analyze your audience. A sound knowledge of the audience is significant for communicating effectively. You must know about the size, age, interest, goals and occupations of your audience.
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